With almost predictable happenstance the rain which cancelled the planned opening round of the 2023 SB Sports Injuries Series, the North Shropshire Wheelers’ Hawkstone Hilly 19 a week earlier returned with a vengeance to blight the renumbered Round 1, the SCCA’s first Spring 10. A quarter hour before the start ominous clouds formed above Ellerdine before throwing everything it had from hail to torrential rain, causing the roads to become awash with standing water and spray, but which allowed easy passage through the air for many riders – some reporting fastest ever season opening 10’s. Torrential rain is one of two conditions almost guaranteeing personal bests, but whilst officials huddled under whatever limited shelter they could find riders got on posting some terrific efforts – with the highly localised cloudburst not affecting the Hodnet end of the course.
Won overall by one of a significant number of visiting riders taking advantage of the early start in the county and who made up half the field, Fibrax-Wrexham’s Ben Lloyd took a fine victory in 20 minutes 45 seconds. But taking the maximum 20 points on offer in both Overall and Veteran’s categories Bridgnorth CC’s Jonathan Mills-Keeling started off the Series as he means to finish it. Mills-Keeling was the 2022 Silver Overall medallist and Veterans Champion, and he set out with a personal best effort in his goal to go one better in the former and hold onto the latter. Posting a time of 21:34 to see off the attentions of Velotik’s Peter Lindfield, Mills-Keeling was happy with his form: “It just started to rain riding to the start. It was very wet and grim, but friendly faces everywhere. I paced evenly, and was happy with a personal best on the course for the first 10 of the year, thanks to Propel CC for putting on a great event”. Mills-Keeling had a dominant win in the Veterans with his +5:17 beating Ruthin CC’s Sally Cunliffe by 22 seconds.
The Women’s event saw Overall victory for another visiting rider as Keri Parton of Team Boompods won comfortably by over three minutes and finished a strong seventh Overall. Parton crossed the line in 23:02 and declared it was a great start to her season: “Super happy to start my time trial season with a win despite the biblical rain falling, making us all question our weekend plans! I’m looking forward to racing this course later in the year as it should be quick on the right day. Big thanks to all the volunteers, they also got soaked! There is a brilliant cycling community in Shropshire, where the club scene is still strong and the sole reason we have so many great events”.
Taking the maximum 20 points on offer in the SB Women’s category was SCCA Chair Helen Tudor, with another best effort as she took advantage of the favourable conditions to post a 26:37 effort. The Oswestry Paragon rider took Women’s Bronze in last year’s competition but has an early lead to defend. She stated: “Great to catch up with everyone and get back to racing. It wouldn’t be the Spring Series without a hailstorm, but light winds made it surprisingly quick – my best ever first 10 of the season, so a good start; thanks to everyone from Propel who helped put the event on, especially those at the start who got very wet”.
It was a straight head-to-head in the SB Junior Series with 10 seconds separating the reigning Junior Champion Ben Southgate from North Shropshire Wheelers’ Chester Romei, the 2022 Junior Silver medallist. Southgate recorded a fine effort of 23:46 to finish ninth Overall, but revealed that the margin could have been greater: “I thought it was going really well up until the island where I got caught in traffic, but I still pushed all the way to the end especially in the wet conditions to get the Junior win”.
|1||Ben||Lloyd||Fibrax Wrexham RC||S||20:45||.|
|4||Jozzef||Evans||Fibrax Wrexham RC||S||21:58||.|
|11||Jonathan||Whittaker||Army Cycling Union||S||24:00||.|
|15||Richard||Elmitt||Fibrax Wrexham RC||V||24:54||.|
|17||Sorrel||Williams||Aero Coach RT||WV||26:10||.|
|18||Chris||Bowers||Mid Wirral Wheelers||V||26:27||.|
|21||Tanya||Samuels||Fibrax Wrexham RC||WV||28:31||.|
|22||Mark||Stocks||Newport Shropshire CC||V||28:45||2|
|Vet’s Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||Vet +/-||Vets Points|
|6||Sorrel||Williams||Aero Coach RT||WV||+2:57||.|
|7||Chris||Bowers||Mid Wirral Wheelers||V||+2:41||.|
|8||Richard||Elmitt||Fibrax Wrexham RC||V||+2:36||.|
|10||Tanya||Samuels||Fibrax Wrexham RC||WV||+1:37||.|
|12||Mark||Stocks||Newport Shropshire CC||V||-1:15||10|
|Women’s Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||Time||Women’s Points|
|2||Sorrel||Williams||Aero Coach RT||WV||26:10||.|
|5||Tanya||Samuels||Fibrax Wrexham RC||WV||28:31||.|
|Junior Pos’n||Forename||Surname||Club||Cat||Time||Junior Points|